Magazine article Global Finance

Getting Back to Basics

Magazine article Global Finance

Getting Back to Basics

Article excerpt

CFOs are using business process analysis to cut risk and gain profit. By Paula L. Green

"Be specific" should be the mantra of chief financial officers about to invest money and time in business process analyses of their companies' operations, business consultants agree.

Whether investigating the risks inherent in the treasury department's cash management practices or completing a more ambitious company-wide risk assessment, corporate executives need to be specific about their goals. If not, the CFO could end up throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars away on a 60-page report that collects dust on the CEO's desk.

"If you don't know why you're reviewing your processes, you won't achieve your results," says Jim Negus, a principal of financial risk management at KPMG in Los Angeles."You have to know your objectives:'

Stephan Hagelauer, product marketing director of XRT America in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, agrees. "Identify your problem; know what your goal is. Don't just ask the consultant to come in, or he'll be wearing a very big smile," Hagelauer says.

Some of those objectives, Negus suggests, could be identifying risks, improving company efficiency, or simply making sure the operations of a specific department are in line with the "best practices" of other firms in the same industry.

While many executives initiate an analysis after a mishap in a department costs the company too many dollars, another good time to identify the key processes and controls of a company operation is before an investment in new software. …

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